Textile is a vast field ever growing with the improvement in the field of science and technology. Though varieties of fabrics are available in the market, since silk continues to be the queen of fabrics due to comfort qualities and eco-friendly nature of the fibre. The aesthetic appeal of silk can be improved by better degumming. The fibroins of cocoon silk are naturally gummed together with impurities like wax, protein, sericin, pectin, and pigments. They are removed by conventional treatments with soap, alkali and oxidizing agents under rather general conditions of treatment such as high alkalinity, high temperature and highly oxidative environment for extended length of time. Thus, these processes are not only energy and time consumes but tends to degrade basic material.

Today, new process and products are closely linked with biotechnology in many research and industrial fields. These are the most diverse possibilities for its profitable use in the textile industry. Enzyme is a biotechnology product, which are the new addition in the field of textile finishing. Many areas of textile enzyme finishing like cotton, linen, jute, and rayon have been conquered since then. Today, prospects lie in the field of developing new durable enzyme finishes for silk. In this research work different natural sources of proteolytic enzymes like Biodegummase, Papain, Trypsin and Pepsin are applied on silk filament to know the effect of enzymes in sericin removal and fastness properties of silk fabric. The enzymes are applied at three different concentrations 5%, 7.5% and 10% respectively and the fabric is dyed with acid dyes at 3% shade. The present study showed better gum loss of 21% when compared to 16% in soap degumming, better dye uptake, colour strength, luster and softness of fabric compared to soap. From the results, it can be inferred that proteolytic-biodegummase enzyme is the best one followed by papain and trypsin. So these natural enzymes could be used for silk degumming effectively in industries as they have the added advantage of being eco-friendly in nature.

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About the Author:

The authors are Lecturer in the Department of Fashion Technology at Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore